Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Serious Health Problems
If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk for Vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods -- including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks -- and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from food and supplements. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn't properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of Vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can increase health risks. According to WebMD, Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children
Research suggests that Vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including Type I and II Diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. Type II Diabetes is largely brought on by lack of exercise, obesity and an unhealthy diet filled with sugar and starches as opposed to a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and eating lean (low fat) proteins such as fish and fowl.
The biggest immediate benefit of getting sun a few times a week is the reduction of cravings. When Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that controls appetite stops working. You eat and eat and eat, and never feel full when this happens. This happened to me when I ran out of Vitamin D and did not have time to run to the health food store, it is tax time you know, and I would eat and then want to binge on food after a full dinner. Most of us work inside and do not get enough sunshine, so I take a Vitamin D supplement of 2,000 to 5,000 International Units (IUs) daily.
The sun contributes significantly to the daily production of Vitamin D, and as little as 10 minutes of exposure a few times a week is enough to help prevent deficiencies.
Some of you may have experienced the “winter blues” in locations that do not have enough sunshine in the wintery and rainy seasons. Vitamin D also helps boost serotonin levels, the happy and sleepy hormone, warding off depression which naturally reduces cravings.
So we can help the situation by getting out of the buildings we work in and get some sunshine. Those of us that have to work inside, be sure to enhance your diet with 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D daily.
Let the sun shine in and have a great health day.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA and are in no way an attempt to diagnosis, treat or cure diseases.